Parishioner Stories

Dr. Mary Dixson

Mary Dixson’s 2020 Spring Break plans came to an abrupt halt with an early morning call from her mother. The US was closing the borders to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and they had 24 hours to get back. Dr. Dixson, a Distinguished Senior Lecturer at UTSA, her husband, and two children who were in Amsterdam for Spring Break scrambled to find a flight out of Europe. After a circutuius trip they made it San Antonio and started quarantine life.
She started seeing stories asking for volunteers for the Pfizer vaccine trials happening in San Antonio and she jumped at the chance to do something, other than just staying at home. “It’s one of those moments where you think, If not me then who? Who’s supposed to do it?”
She weighed the pros and cons and there wasn’t a good reason not to do it; no health conditions that put her at greater risk, and she’d never had a bad reaction to vaccines. She’s a healthy middle-aged person and so she filled out the application.
It had been two months since Dr. Dixson filled out her application for the vaccine trial and as we collectively eased into curbside and carry out life, she was still waiting to be called. Two days before the trial began her phone rang and she picked the first available time and became patient 001 of the Pfizer vaccine trials in San Antonio.
Ten hours after the second shot she suspected she was in the vaccine group and not the placebo. “Instinctively when you have chills, fever, dry mouth you know something is going on. I couldn’t get warm. I had on extra layers of clothes, in the middle of summer, I was freezing.” Her suspicions were confirmed when her group was unblinded in January of this year, six months after the trial began.
Because of existing RNA technology, the vaccines for Covid- 19 were able to be developed in record time. The trials were a giant success but last year this was an unknown risk, it wasn’t guaranteed that the vaccine would be effective or safe. “Once you know you have the vaccine that’s where faith really kicks in. That’s what we prayed for every day. Lord keep us safe, keep us healthy, and keep my mother healthy.”
One of the joyful side effects of the vaccine was being able to share her experiences to give people around her confidence in the vaccine. She felt called to connect with people on Twitter, on Facebook, in the media to let people know it’s ok to be scared but you know someone who’s been through this trial. You can ask me questions to help you feel more confident when you get your turn.
God puts opportunities in your path and for Dr. Dixson taking part in the vaccine trials has allowed her to be a voice for people that don’t have faith in the science behind the vaccine. “You have faith in the Lord that He has sent us the vaccine and He’s giving you the opportunity to protect yourself and your family but you to take advantage of it. Science and faith are one – the Lord has given you the knowledge to make life safer and easier but you have to grab it when it comes to you.”